Dharani’s Tomato Chutney

When Dharani, Dinesh and kids visited us in the US, they found the food tolerable at best. "Everything's so bland," was a common complaint. This worked out nicely for us, because Dharani insisted on cooking in our kitchen on a daily basis. This is one of her family's favorite chutneys. - g


  • 4 medium tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp  cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 whole, dry red chiles
  • 1 sprig of curry leaves (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp ground chile
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil or ghee
  • 3 Tbsp tamardind water (Soak fresh tamarind in water or use tamarind paste combined with water to make 3 Tbsp. Strain to remove any fiber or other solids before using.)
  • Handful of chopped coriander (cilantro) leaves


Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a wide pan and cook onion until tender. Add the tomatoes, garlic, ground chile and cook for a few minutes. Add salt to taste. Remove from heat and allow to cool a bit. Add contents of the pan to a blender with 1/4 cup water and blend until smooth. In the same pan, heat the remaining oil. Add mustard seeds and cumin seeds, stirring until cumin seeds begin to darken. Add the dry, whole chile and curry leaves. Return the blended tomato mixture to the pan and add the tamarind water. Bring to a simmer, adding additional water as needed. Adjust salt. Finish with chopped cilantro and serve warm with dosa, idli, appam or rice.